Re-inventing the Guided Tour

In this course, students will create tours of sites with which they believe people should be more familiar. The tours might be of a garden, a literary landscape, or a chemistry lab. Each student will shape, chart out, design and choreograph a live experience that leads people through a physical location of their choice. Led by longtime collaborators choreographer Monica Bill Barnes and theater/dance designer Jane Cox, students will enable others to share in what fascinates them and will serve as primary collaborator on one another’s work. Along the way, students take some unusual trips and investigate the tour as a form of storytelling.

The Museum Workout

Photo by Mallory Lyn

Sample reading list:
Jim Jarmusch and John Zorn, Passing Stranger – The East Village Poetry Walk
Gabriel Kahane, The Ambassador
The Birth of Hip Hop with Jazzy J and Afrika Bambaataa
Audio Collective Sidewalk
Helen Freshwater, Theater and Audience
Kieran Burgess, Technical Theater and Production Design in Immersive Theater

Reading/Writing assignments:
The students’ final graded projects will be the creation of unusual guided tours of sites selected by students. Ongoing exercises will explore moving people through space, engaging and focusing audience attention, theatrical techniques and collaboration. Reading, listening and creative assignments will include exploring audio tours, tours created as books and albums, physical tours in Princeton and NYC, and readings in participatory and immersive theater.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
We are looking for students with cross disciplinary interests, and an excitement about collaborating across fields. Students with interests in everything — including but not limited to histories, literatures, sciences, theater, dance, art and music — are encouraged to apply. Although the course will require you to design and shape a live experience with an audience, no previous artistic experience is required, and you will not be required to perform in your final project. The class will be at its most exciting with a broad range of student backgrounds..

Other information:
A brief application is required. Monica Bill Barnes, choreographer, and Jane Cox, designer, have been collaborating for twenty years since they met in college — in the words of the company motto “bringing dance where it doesn’t belong.” Current projects together include a touring show with Ira Glass combining radio and dance; the Art Museum Workout with illustrator Maira Kalman; and Happy Hour, a dance piece with karaoke, cocktails and suits.


Monica Bill Barnes & Company

Learn more about the instructors’ work together at




Mondays, 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.